What are the Best Flowers for a White Garden?

Deborah Walker
Deborah Walker
Some jasmine teas are made using fragrant night-blooming jasmine.
Some jasmine teas are made using fragrant night-blooming jasmine.

A white garden, or moonlight garden, features different types of white flowers and plants with silver or white foliage. The time of day that the flowers are open, their color, and fragrance are important factors to consider when planting a white garden. Some of the best white garden flowers include Annabelle hydrangea, lily of the valley, Queen Anne's lace, and white lilacs. The flowers of the bearded iris and evening primrose plants open at dusk and are also naturals for the nighttime garden.

Annabelle hydrangea, Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle,' produces large white clusters of flowers from mid-summer to mid-fall. It may grow to be 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters) tall. This white garden flower prefers sun to partial shade, along with continuously moist, well-drained soil. It may be planted in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 3-9.

Convarllaria majalis, or lily of the valley, is a fast-spreading, old-fashioned, sweetly scented groundcover that may be used in a white garden. It may grow up to 1 foot tall and may spread several feet across. Lily of the valley plants do best in shady areas with moist, well-drained soil. It can survive in USDA Hardiness Zones 2-7.

Queen Anne's lace, or Daucus carota, is a charming, easy-to-grow plant that produces clusters of white lacy flowers from mid-to-late summer or early fall. It typically grows to a height of 24-48 inches (60-90 centimeters). This biennial prefers full sunlight, well-drained soil, and USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8. In some areas, Queen Anne's lace is considered an invasive species.

White lilacs, Syringa vulgaris, are extremely fragrant shrubs that grow to be 6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 meters) tall. From mid-spring to early summer, they produce clusters of sweet-smelling white flowers that attract bees, birds, and butterflies to the white garden. The lilac plant tolerates full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Lilacs are well-suited for USDA hardiness zones 4-8.

White bearded iris may be found in dwarf, standard, and tall varieties. The flowers are very fragrant. Iris flowers open at dusk and close again at dawn. Dwarf bearded iris varieties may be 6-18 inches (15-45 centimeters) tall. Tall varieties may reach heights of 24-48 inches (60-120 centimeters). White iris prefers to grow in full sunlight, well-drained soil, and in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9.

Evening primrose, Oenothera speciosa, is another fragrant, night-blooming flower for the white garden. This perennial reaches a height of 18-24 inches (45-60 centimeters) and produces white or nearly white blooms in the middle of summer. It grows best when planted in full sun, receives regular watering, and located in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-8. Gardeners who want to attract bees, butterflies, and birds to their gardens will not be disappointed with evening primrose. This plant is regarded as an invasive species or noxious weed in some areas.

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Discussion Comments


Many fruit trees also produce white blossoms, and can be gorgeous if put in the right place. A good white garden idea might be a pear tree, as the fruit isn't brightly colored.

However, cherries and apples also have white flowers.


Gardenias are beautiful white flowers with a lush scent -- perfect for a white garden! Some kinds are hardier than others, but your local garden center will probably have the easier types to grow.

Another good idea for a white flower garden is a Daphne bush, although often the flowers are a pale pink rather than true white. They smell delicious though and flower for a long time.

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    • Some jasmine teas are made using fragrant night-blooming jasmine.
      By: Igor Normann
      Some jasmine teas are made using fragrant night-blooming jasmine.